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Star turns

School: Central Primary, Inverness; 400 pupils, 17 at nursery. Headteacher Isobel Gilroy

What has been the best arts company to visit your school in the past year?

Scottish Opera For All

How did you hear about them?

From Sonia Rose, education officer at Eden Court Theatre in Inverness

What did they do?

A workshop day culminating in the performance of a new musical piece. The theme was Alba (Scotland) and it involved 109 P6 and P7 pupils from both the Gaelic and English sections of the school. The team of four divided pupils into Musicians, Vikings, Picts and Monks, and rehearsed them. Then everyone came together. They gave us the background story to the piece, filled in the gaps and rehearsed it as a whole.

At the end of the day a hugely impressive performance was put on for the entire school

Did you do any preparation beforehand?

We were sent a comprehensive set of notes on the project which involved craft work, such as making masks, and learning a lot of words to the songs. They sent a tape, so we'd be aware of the music in advance and could rehearse.

Any follow-up work?

A few weeks after their visit, the children sang some of the more poignant songs at the P7's final assembly. It was very moving -a lot of the parents were in tears. The attitude of the pupils to opera and music generally has changed completely.

How long did they stay?

A whole day.

How much did they cost?

Pounds 400 Who paid?

The school funds paid Pounds 250 and Eden Court paid Pounds 150.

What was so good about them? They were very well organised and extremely professional. The quality of the original music and lyrics was extremely high. They worked the pupils hard, so they learned how much hard work it is for a professional - they certainly rose to the challenge, their behaviour on the day was incredibly good. The teachers got a lot out of it as well - the whole school got a buzz which lasted for weeks.

* To contact Scottish Opera For All, tel 0141 248 4567

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